A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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26. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, CRICKLADE
Warin, chaplain to Henry III, founded at Cricklade a xenodocium or guest-house for the use of poor wayfarers. (fn. 1) A local tradition, interesting if not authoritative, declares that wounded Crusaders were 'brought up the river in barges and lodged in hospitals dedicated to St. John at Cricklade and Lechlade'. (fn. 2)
On 1 April 1231 Henry, at Marlborough, gave orders that Warin and subsequent wardens of the hospital should have free cheminage through Braden Forest with their horses and carts to fetch for the use of the poor and the brethren any brushwood, charcoal, and timber given to or bought by them in the forest. (fn. 3) In 1241 the Prior Augustine quitclaimed to John Barlet, for £11 10s., a carucate of land at Nethercott (fn. 4) in Swindon. In 1250 the king ordered that the warden should have his cheminage (as he did before G. de Langel' was justice of the forest) until he had spoken to the warden of the forest. (fn. 5)
In 1263 the prior was found to hold one plot of the manor of Cricklade for 3d. a year; (fn. 6) in 1280-1 he held 12 acres of meadow between Chelworth in Cricklade and Latton, as well as 8 acres of land at Chelworth which Roger Muntescut had sold to him in Henry III's time. (fn. 7)
During the short and bitter quarrel between Edward I and the clergy over taxation, the sheriff seized the prior's temporalities into the king's hand; the prior made fine (with other superiors) before the chancellor, and in February 1297 he had protection until All Saints. (fn. 8) Hugh le Despenser, as warden of the forests (in 1312-15), impeded the prior's freedom of cheminage; the prior petitioned (in French) for redress, which was given by authority of Parliament. (fn. 9)
The Bishop of Salisbury commissioned his official and his penitentiary in 1309 to act for him in all matters concerning the church of Cricklade, the prior and brethren and sisters of the hospital, and other persons in the town. (fn. 10) In 1313 Thomas, son of John Davy, granted to the prior and brethren a rent of 50s. out of a croft in Great Chelworth. (fn. 11)
Adam Kynny, brother of the hospital, was elected by his brethren as prior in 1322; (fn. 12) during his rule there is record of a professed sister and of a lay brother. (fn. 13) Walter of Ocle was elected in 1340, on Adam's resignation; John Coldrop (a brother of the hospital) in 1353, on Walter's resignation; and Michael Gardiner in 1361. (fn. 14) Two interventions by the Crown followed: the king granted the wardenship in November 1389 to Thomas Yorkfleet, clerk (who as Rector of Chiddingfold (Surr.) had been ordained acolyte in 1379 and priest in 1381), (fn. 15) and in November 1390 to John Fairford, clerk. (fn. 16) But in 1391 John Consayl was presented as prior, by an unspecified patron, on the resignation of Richard Chaddesden. (fn. 17)
In 1415 Robert Hallam, Bishop of Salisbury, in agreement with his chapter, published revised statutes. (fn. 18) The 'sinodocium or hospital', with its chapel and buildings, was to be held for ever religious, and devoted especially to the needs of poor priests, who were unable, through age or infirmity, to carry out their functions; it was also, so far as its means allowed, to give rest and refreshment to poor wayfarers. A prior, rector, or provost was to be elected (with the bishop's licence) from the congregation or from outside; he was to live a regular life, and be clothed in a regular habit. With him there were to be (if means allowed) two priests, a deacon, and a sub-deacon, living under rule. One of the priests was to say the offices, and the other the mass for the dead; the rector was not to be too proud to take his turn on occasion. The inmates were to be admitted without any bargain or simony; they were to increase in number as endowments increased; they were to wear a regular uniform habit; they were not to go outside the hospital without the rector's permission, or drink in the town, or consort with laymen.
The prior collated in 1431 was directed to reform the hospital, but he resigned four years later; both he and his predecessor received pensions of 5 marks on their retirement. (fn. 19) A collation in 1493 was to 'the hospital of St. John the Baptist in Cricklade priory'. (fn. 20)
Thomas Perham, prior in 1535, returned the gross income of the hospital as £4 15s.; the 'allocations' were rents of 2s. to the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury (then rectors of St. Sampson's Church, Cricklade), 2s. to the queen, and 4½d. to 'Mr. Servynton' (Cervington, lord of the manor of Chelworth). (fn. 21) The chantry commissioners of 1546 gave the income as £4 11s.; their successors in 1548 reported that the priory or free chapel was worth £4 15s. 8d. a year, and that the incumbent, Thomas Perham, aged 70, resided on a small benefice in Dorset. (fn. 22) The whole property was sold in 1550, excepting bells and lead from the roof; the 'priory or free chapel' was described as in 'the borough' of Cricklade. (fn. 23)
The sale in 1550 comprised a number of small properties in Cricklade, both within and without the borough. The 'Priory'—a name in use today —was outside the walls; the hospital, within the town, may be identified with 4 messuages and gardens held in 1550 by Richard Birge, one of which was on the site of the police station in the High Street. (fn. 24) It may be assumed that the prior and his four assistants (under Hallam's statutes) occupied the 'priory', while the retired priests and occasional wayfarers used the 'hospital'.
Masters, Wardens, or Priors
Warin, occurs 1231. (fn. 25)
Augustine, occurs 1241. (fn. 26)
Richard, occurs 1284. (fn. 27)
Ralph, occurs 1315. (fn. 28)
Adam Kynny, 1322, resigned 1340. (fn. 29)
Walter of Ocle, presented 1340, resigned 1353. (fn. 30)
John Coldrop, presented 1353. (fn. 31)
Michael Gardiner, elected 1361. (fn. 32)
Thomas Yorkfleet, appointed 1389. (fn. 33)
John Fairford, appointed 1390. (fn. 34)
Richard Chaddesden, resigned 1391. (fn. 35)
John Consayl, presented 1391. (fn. 36)
John Grene, presented 1431. (fn. 37)
Hugh Newport, presented 1435, resigned 1470. (fn. 38)
John Newport, presented 1470, resigned 1478. (fn. 39)
Thomas Gogh, presented 1478, resigned 1493. (fn. 40)
David Jones, presented 1493. (fn. 41)
Thomas Perham (or Parham or Parriman), occurs from 1532 to 1548. (fn. 42)